Ruairi and Ben guide O Raghal­laigh’s home


A scrappy sec­ond-half goal from Ben Ro­gan and four points from the boot of Ruairi Moore set O’Raghal­laighs on their way to a two-point vic­tory over a waste­ful and de­pleted St Joseph’s in Castle­bel­ligham on Satur­day evening.

Slight un­der­dogs go­ing into the game, the Joe’s had the bet­ter of the open­ing thirty min­utes and led 8-4.

How­ever, An­thony Keenan’s charges will un­doubt­edly look back on that open­ing half with re­gret hav­ing racked up 10 out of their fi­nal tally of 14 wides dur­ing that spell of dom­i­nance.

They won an im­pres­sive 22 from 39 first-half kick­outs in­clud­ing 10 out of 11 from their own goal keeper Sea­mus Quigley, who also pro­duced an ex­cel­lent save to deny Ben Ro­gan in that first half.

Three of the eight Joe’s scores in that first half came from full for­ward Con­all Smyth who gave O’Raghal­laighs de­fender To­mas Cal­lan a tor­rid time and the fact that Smyth had to be re­placed due to in­jury with 20 min­utes re­main­ing was ma­jor blow for the Darver and Dromiskin side and a def­i­nite turn­ing point in the match

The Joes made it in­cred­i­bly dif­fi­cult for the Drogheda side’s for­wards to find any kind of rhythm in the first half.

They em­ployed Alan Lynch as a sweeper, and this cou­pled with their suc­cess on the kick outs, left them in con­trol early on.

But they failed to make that ad­van­tage re­ally count on the score­board due to some waste­ful shoot­ing.

It was 0-3 each af­ter eleven min­utes with Eoin Moore scor­ing su­perbly to equalise for the O’Raghal­laighs who saw and early two-point cush­ion wiped out by Alan McKenna, Smyth and Jack Mul­li­gan of the Joes.

Mo­ments later, Barry Flana­gan put them ahead from play but that would be the fi­nal score reg­is­tered by Mickey Con­lon’s side in that half as the Joes took over, scor­ing four unan­swered points. The stand out point came cour­tesy of To­mas Smyth fol­low­ing some quick think­ing by Alan Quigley who picked him out with an in­ci­sive cross field pass from a Joes side­line ball.

Con­all Smyth (2), Daire Smyth and a free from Quigley gave the Joes a four-point lead to take into the break. If only they had been more eco­nom­i­cal in front of goal.

The sec­ond half was an en­tirely dif­fer­ent story as O’Raghal­laighs brought both Ben Ro­gan and Ruairi Moore into the mid­dle area of the pitch and it bore fruit as the duo scored 1-4 be­tween them to in­spire an O’Raghal­laighs fight back.

The de­ci­sive score ar­rived 12 min­utes from full time. Ruari Moore caught a kick­out in the mid­dle of the field be­fore turn­ing to drive at a back-ped­dling Joe’s de­fence where he played in Ro­gan who palmed the ball to the net.

There was a hint of a po­ten­tial square ball about the goal but it stood and it put the O’Raghal­laighs ahead by 1-10 to 0-10.

The goal epit­o­mised the Drogheda side’s grow­ing su­pe­ri­or­ity in that 20-minute pe­riod.

They gained the up­per hand in mid­field win­ning eight out of the first 12 kick outs con­tested with Ro­gan’s goal their re­ward for that dom­i­nance.

Barry Flana­gan was an­other player who came to the fore in that sec­ond half which com­pletely swung in the O’Raghal­laighs’ favour.

Alan Quigley and Daire Smyth kept the Joes in the game with points but ul­ti­mately the O’Raghal­laighs held on for vic­tory.

To rub fur­ther salt in the Joes’ wounds hard-work­ing mid­fielder Kil­lian Staunton was dis­missed in stop­page time for two yel­low cards.

Daire Smyth, St. Joseph’s tack­les Dean Byrne, O’Raghal­laighs dur­ing the SFC Group D tie at The Grove, Castle­belling­ham. Pic­tures: Ai­dan Dul­laghan

Ben Ro­gan nets a vi­tal goal for O’Raghal­laighs.

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